Five Poorman’s Lighting Mods When Pro Lighting Gear Is Just Too Expensive

In this post you will find a collection of really (and I mean really) cheap alternatives to pro lighting.

Will you get the same crisp results that you get with pro gear? Probably just an approximation. On the other hand none of those mods cost more than a nickel and a dime, so it is well worth the try.

1. Foamy / Beauty Dish

Poor Man's Beauty Dish (by Brannon E.)

This is by far one of my favorites in the super cheapo category. A beauty dish give out beautiful light that is perfectly balanced between hard and soft light. They are perfect for portraiture and create very unique and distinct look.

This specific beauty dish is made out with nothing more than a bit of foamy paper and some Velcro. Does is give the same great light of a 200$ plus beauty dish? No. Does it get darn close? Yes!

See full instructions by Brannon Estis here

2. Barf Bags / Flash Diffuser Fong Style

DIY Flash Diffuser – Airline Barf Bags

It is a known fact that the bigger your light source is, the softer your light is. Garry fong made a small fortune out of making the LightSphere – a plastic enhancement that goes over your flash.

Luckily, a very similar effect can be achieved with a simple barf bag. Just remember you can use it for wither lighting or its original use – not both.

See full instructions by Matthew G. Monroe here.

3. Lightstand Box / StripLlight

The DIY Strip Light

A strip light is a lighting modifier very similar to a softbox. The main difference is that is it is long and narrow. It is great for side light, kickers and bottom lighting.

As with most softboxes it is not a cheap mod to buy. Luckily (like any other softbox), a strip light can be made with nothing more than a box.

See full instructions and sample images by Nick Wheeler here.

4. Gaffer’s Tape / Lightstand

setup2 (by phocussionist)

This is a nice little hack that requires nothing more than a bit of Gaffer’s tape. (Other tape might be used though nothing sticks like Gaffer’s tape and still leaves a clean wall).

It is quite strong and done right, it will hold your flash pretty securely. So if there is a wall nearby you can kiss that lightstand goodbye.

See the original image and a kick a– image taken with this hack by Kris Marsh here.

5. Pizza/ Ringflash

DIY Studio - The Square Ring Flash

Who said a Ringflash has to be round? Yea, sure, they call it a ring, but this ringlight which is made out of a pizza box is challenging this convention.

The light that is coming from a ring flash is cannot be mistaken because of the great halo it creates (and because many other reasons too).

See how to make your own Pizza box square ring light in a tutorial by Nick Wheeler here.